Judge: Sunnyside toddler murder trial will not be pushed back

Judge: Sunnyside toddler murder trial will not be pushed back »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Tension boiled over in a Yakima County courtroom Thursday as lawyers for a man accused of killing his girlfriend's son fought to postpone his pending murder trial.

"I just said I denied it, Mr. Swan," said Honorable Ruth Reukauf. "But, let me make it clear if I didn't make it clear; I am denying it."

Judge Reukauf's decision means Juan Lopez's trial on second-degree murder will begin next week.

He's accused of killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old son while babysitting back in 2010.

Prosecutors say he punched Benjamin Miron so hard that the boy died from it.

Detectives say Lopez admitted hitting him in the stomach twice out of frustration.

"We saw police cars all over here," said Valentin Castillo, a neighbor who spoke with KIMA back in 2010. "We were kind of wondering what was going on until we heard that, you know the little boy had died."

Lopez's lawyer argued he's not ready to argue the case before a jury after only recently getting new evidence from prosecutors.

"Quite frankly, I really feel like I'm being sand-bagged by the state on this," said Lopez's defense attorney Jeff Swan.

The new information in question would be testimony from a young witness who was only four years old when the boy died. She's expected to take the stand.

"I believe the interviews were provided to him," said prosecutor Patti Powers.

Lopez's attorney said there was an unwritten agreement that the case wouldn't go to trial until April.

"We're concerned he's not going to get his best chance at a trial," said Swan.

The judge made it clear the trail will start next week.

KIMA was unable to reach the boy's mother. The mother's other children were removed from the home following the death.

There's no word yet if she ever regained custody. Jury selection is expected to begin Monday.